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Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout | Rock Art Brewery

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Pumpkin Imperial Spruce StoutPumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout
202 Ratings
Pumpkin Imperial Spruce StoutPumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout

Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
"A big stout brewed in the colonial fashion with large amounts of pumpkins and spruce tips added to the kettle for flavor and bittering qualities. The pumpkins compliment the malt flavors, and were used to add sugars to the mash. What ever you do, do not think this is going to taste like pumpkin pie. 50 IBUs."

Added by Brad007 on 09-11-2009

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 202 |  Reviews: 89
Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.3/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22-ounce bomber bottle into a Newport Storm snifter glass.

A: Black with root beer highlights beneath a two-finger thick head of dense, creamy, espresso-colored foam that leaves some nice lacing an a bit of sediment in the glass.

S: Roasted licorice, tobacco, hops and chocolate with a salty, pumpkin seed smell to go along with some pine needles.

T: Rich, anise-tinged and roasted malt beginning with a slow building, fruity, bitter flavor that pairs up with the bitter, piny hops and bitter, roasted pumpkin flesh. Washes back with a lingering, roasted pumpkin bitterness and some charred, piny hops to go along with a clingy, alcohol finish.

M: Big, bold and complex with loads of charred malts, roasted pumpkin and booziness to cling to those oily hop resins in the aftertaste.

O: A very good stout with an interesting addition of pumpkin and spruce tips, this 8% brew warms up nicely and pairs well with the flashier, peppery spices in my vegetarian chili, as per the label's recommendation. Not a pumpkin ale by any stretch, this stout takes the natural bittering qualities of pumpkin, then marries the bitterness of spruce to the carefully selected piny hops.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.33/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Opaque brown color, some yeast left in bottle. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Spruce nose. Brewer is right - nothing like pumpkin pie, spruce (there's a whole forest here) adds the bitterness, malts are in background, not finding much pumpkin. $4.54 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A –Nice ruby brown body. Light tan head is creamy with great retention and ok lace.

S – Brown sugar, chocolate malt, fruit cake, woody bitters and a hint of light coffee.

T – Roasted malt with just a touch of smoke. Tree bark, molasses, and a kiss of fresh pumpkin through the center. Char and pine on the backend.

M – Light body for the style, but not unpleasant. More porter than stout.

O – Light on the pumpkin, but over the profile is fresh and piney with a well integrated profile. Tastes almost like a wet-hop stout.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle was poured into a Stella glass. Picked this up in VT during Thanksgiving weekend. Never seen it down here in MA, so I figured it was time to try it out.

Appearance: The beer poured a one finger mocha head. Pitch black and can't really notice anything else at all. Head has reduced to a thin layer with some lacing left on the glass.

Smell: A lot of coffee, mocha, and alcohol on the nose. Smells dry and spicy.

Taste: Same as above, but I could notice the spruce tips, earthiness,and pumpkin in the rear of the sip very subtlely. Also some bitterness towards the end. Spruce tips do a good job of masking the alcohol. This beer tastes better as it gets warmer.

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, smooth, full bodied, a little dry and boozy, and easy to drink.

Overall: This was a very interesting take on the style. With the subtleness of the pumpkin and the addition of the spruce tips to the kettle, this beer was better than I expected. Very scarily good and will have to grab a bottle next time in VT.

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Photo of Durge
4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An opaque black brown color with a decent tan cover that settles to a film with similar trail of sketchy lacing. The aroma embraces the subtle spruce idea as advertized. Some skunky, earthy seaweed malt. Nice but not overpowering. The flavor comes out with plenty of spruce hopiness as promised. It’s malty with herbal subtleties over a bit of charcoal but the spruce description is true to form with minty-like freshness. This stuff is about full bodied with balanced carbonation to provide a drinkable, very uniquely tasty beer, although the pumpkin element is not obvious to me.

 583 characters

Photo of sholland119
3/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of CypherEnigma
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of SpillyBeers
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of Satchboogie
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of LostHighway
3.25/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of BrewinHeadBanger
5/5  rDev +40.8%

Photo of waiting4lunch
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of ikats
3.48/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark ruby with a wonderful brown head that dissolves slowly (some time in and there is still noticeable head). Aroma is a bit difficult to analyze (my sense of smell is terrible to begin with). Roasted notes. Maybe a bit of sweetness. There is a hoppy component there too. At first taste this beer hit me pretty good. Any sweetness in the aroma is relegated to the background and this beer is all about dryness. Very dry with a touch of bitterness in the back and a touch of sweetness on the lips. As you drink it, the beer feels smooth, but dry aftertaste may not be pleasing to everybody. Personally, I'm enjoying it. My first thought - ice cream (I have a weak spot for stouts with vanilla ice cream). I think it would play nicely off this stout's dryness. Medium body. Somewhat warming.

I will not be reaching out for this beer often, but on a winter day it will be delicious with a dessert. My mom and dad brought me this beer from their trip to Vermont (I only mention it because I always enjoy when people bring me beer as souvenirs).

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Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.5/5  rDev +26.8%

Photo of UncleJimbo
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of Jspriest
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of CHADMC3
3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black body beneath the foamy, mocha head that very slowly dissolves leaving a thick lacing clinging to the glass.

The visual versus the aroma confuses the senses a bit. Upon first examination, the aroma is of roasted malt traditional of an Imperial Stout. Upon closer review, there is a woody spice to this beer from the spruce, and then the pumpkin comes out a bit too.

After the roasted malt coats the palate, the pumpkin is quite apparent. Not only is the pumpkin flesh easy to decipher, but the woody notes from the spruce could also seem similar to pumpkin seeds or even stem. The wood and spice aspects are more prevalent mid-palate while the pumpkin flesh highlights the finish.

Medium in body (light for an Imperial Stout) with medium carbonation and fairly smooth finish.

This is a tough beer to evaluate. I think I can see what Rock Art was going for and they did a pretty good job. The blend of roasted malt, wood, and spice are nice in the aroma and the pumpkin flesh does well with the malt in the flavor. If anything, it could be a bit fuller in body. A craft beer brain and senses are not used to this type of beer with this blend of qualities. One could argue the brewer got a bit too crazy, or that given what they chose to work with, got it just right.

 1,294 characters

Photo of WanderingFool
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout pours black into the glass with a medium sized, light tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a thick ring around the surface leaving behind several spots and lines of lace on the glass.

The aroma is malty with notes of coffee and roasted malt. Pine and pepper notes are also present.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is highly carbonated, with a creamy body. The flavor begins with dark malt flavors with roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. Towards the end some pine and citrus hop move in. It finishes dry with a touch of spice. Once gone the pine and chocolate notes linger on the palate.

The pine flavor makes this beer interesting. It has nice stout flavor, but is somewhat over carbonated.

 738 characters

Photo of jonB
4.05/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an opaque brown with a mocha head that dissipates somewhat quickly. The smell is sweet malts with hints of brown sugar and piney hops. The taste has plenty of malt, which gives it a full mouthfeel and finishes with subtle hoppiness. It finishes dry and even with no hint of alcohol. A very well balanced beer that is great to sip. Not at all what you would expect with pumpkin in the name, but a very nice surprise.

 430 characters

Photo of oline73
3.15/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours almost black but it is a reddish brown when held up to the light. There is just under a finger of off white head that goes away completely.

Smell: Roasty with some pine and a hint of sweet, dark fruit.

Taste: I don't think all the flavors work together in this beer. There is a strong bitterness that comes from the roast and some pine as well. There is a slight hint of citrus peel in this one too. I'm missing the pumpkin. The finish is bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very mild carbonation and a finish that is a bit slick.

Overall: I wasn't in love with this beer. I don't think everything worked together and didn't really taste pumpkin.

 712 characters

Photo of philbe311
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - A finger and a half worth of tightly packed slightly creamy medium khaki colored head with a bit of a batter-like top... Modest retention gives ay to a full but slightly lopsided veil of lacing... The color is a deep dark brown... Only a couple of stray carbonation bubbles can be seen rising on the sides of the glass towards the top...

S - Fairly subdued... The spruce notes are rather muted... Some notes of molasses... Very lightly roasted malts... The pumpkin is quite subtle and buried beneath the surface... Very faint chocolate notes...

T - The spruce tips assert themselves on the palette and provide a surprising bitterness... Some lightly roasted malts... Very faint coffee notes...

M - Medium bodied... A bit thin... A light bit of sharp carbonation... A slightly awkward finish that tends to linger for a while...

D - While I didn't expect a blast of pumpkin, as many have said, it is almost completely absent... The spruce tips provide a unique flavor which prove to be a bit challenging... The mouthfeel really detracts from this one overall... Far from a drain pour, but not one I would neither recommend nor purchase again...

 1,154 characters

Photo of stonermouse
2.94/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Sam Adams glass. Drank over about an hour, so had it cool through room temp.

Pours cola-brown, with a head that vanishes quickly. Low carbonation and no lacing at all. Looks like a flat RC Cola.

Aroma is decent, if nondescript. A little coffee comes through, along with, believe it or not, a little cola-like smell. Not quite the overwhelming wallop I expected from an "extreme" beer.

I expected big flavor, and I didn't get it. This is pretty mellow all around. There's a bit of chocolate and coffee, but pretty generic, mild flavors. The advertised pumpkin flavor pretty much didn't exist, and there was a touch of pine, earthiness, and a bit of plain hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is rather dry and thin. Finishes with a bitter and mildly unpleasant dryness.

Not sure what to say about this one. It's a fairly average stout advertised as an "extreme," imperial-type stout. Nothing about this brew is extreme. It's not an offensive brew, but it offers only slightly more than a Guiness in a fancier bottle.

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Photo of Doshkin
2.98/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a - very dark almost black amber. decent head that dissipated quickly

s - some spicy, hoppy smells. not too strong

t - fair amount of hops for what i expected. bitter. no pumpkin taste at all. this was kind of a weak, hoppy stout

m - bubbly, smooth, spiced

o - this is not very "extreme", as claimed very blatantly across the label. i guess the one good thing about it is that it masks the 8% pretty well. i didn't find this beer particularly impressive in any way. i won't buy it again. would not pick it as a beer to hang out and relax with, and i definitely not drink more than a bottle of it. too bad a got a big bottle to come to these realizations : P

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Pumpkin Imperial Spruce Stout from Rock Art Brewery
Beer rating: 3.55 out of 5 with 202 ratings
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